No Matter How Long It Takes, You *Will* Find Yourself

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I’ve always been a generally happy person. In high school, and even the beginning of college, I was always “the girl laughing all the time” or the one everyone came to when they needed someone to cheer them up, simply because I was known to embarrass myself (daily) and didn’t care what people thought and I guess people found that funny. It wasn’t until my senior year of college, which should be the best year of your life, when something in me changed and never fully changed back.

I no longer had the desire to smile all the time, laugh all the time. I went out with friends, but sometimes the drinking only made it worse, made me different. My close friends would constantly ask me what was wrong, and I’d reply with, “What do you mean? Nothing’s wrong,” because I didn’t even realize I was acting different. My best friends at home barely knew who I was anymore, and would constantly ask if something at home (meaning school) had happened. I didn’t even realize something was wrong. I still haven’t figured out exactly what’s wrong, and I may never know.

I know I said I’ve generally always been a happy person, but that was a lie. There was a point in high school where I did some pretty dumb things. Things I regret and things I started to repeat my senior year of college. Some of the things I would have regretted if it wasn’t for one of my best friends who always saw right through my bullshit “I’m fine’s” and “I’m okay’s.” Mostly because he’s known me since freshman year and he saw the weird change.

Being so young, I didn’t know how to react towards all these emotions and changes being thrown at me, that I turned to actions I thought would take away the pain. After getting out of that “funk” and those mistakes, I changed myself into the happy, laughing, smiling-through-the-pain girl. Until senior year, where it all started to go downhill again.

I can’t even explain what happened in those short months from then until now. I had great friends, I had such an encouraging team and coaches and a great boyfriend, who I admit, I took for granted at times. But something still wasn’t right. I went out with friends, I drank, I partied (maybe a little too much at times), but whenever I was alone, usually drunk, I’d get back into one of those “funks” and wanted nothing to do with anything. I can’t explain why, because my life seemed pretty great. I don’t know if it was because graduation was soon approaching, things weren’t the same with the boy I had been dating, family issues (but everyone has those). I constantly asked myself “Hayley, what the hell is wrong with you ­– why do you feel this way? Why have you gone from so happy to so sad?” because that’s what I was. Sad.

It started affecting me so much that I barely ate, I hurt people who constantly did nothing but try to make things better, and I did many things I’m not proud of. How did I get out of it? I don’t think I ever did. So why am I writing this? Well, a couple of reasons: 1) because they say writing things out is the first step to getting better and 2) because if you’re reading this, you’ve been in the same position I’m at, and I want you to know it gets better. And so I’m here to tell you: it takes time, but it gets better.

In May, I graduated college and I moved to a completely new city, away from most of my friends and my family. That’s when I knew my life was beginning and I had to do something to get out of this “funk” I was in. I broke up with my boyfriend, not because I didn’t love him, but because the stress of our relationship wasn’t something that made me happy anymore. I moved out of his uncle’s house. Because how was I supposed to move on with a constant reminder of him and us? I lost friends because I took them for granted. Friends who witnessed all my sadness and mistakes but still stuck with me through it all.

Does it hurt? Of course it does. But that’s life, it hurts and you can either let it make or break you.

But through all of this I learned one thing: life goes on. Things might not always be great, and you might not always be happy, but you cannot give it the power to break you, like I have.

And I just want to say: I’m sorry to all the people I hurt while I was hurting. I can’t say I’m not hurt anymore, because I am. I feel like I always will be, but the pain has made me stronger and it will make you stronger too. The “funk” that I am in now, I may never get out of. But that’s okay because it makes me who I am, and those who can’t accept it, I don’t need. Life is too beautiful and too short to live in darkness, and I know that now.

So for anyone who’s felt at their lowest point, like I have, I promise, it gets better. Day by day. Step by step.

Take a deep breath, and remember: even at your lowest point, you are here for a reason.

You may not have found that reason yet, and you may not have found yourself yet. I know I’m still looking. But I promise, one day you will and one day you will know true and utter happiness. And I wish you the best. TC mark

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